Van Hollen Supported Electronic Signatures for Law Enforcement, Opposes for Voters

In March Praised Electronic Signatures for Law Enforcement

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“…the ability to transmit a complaint with an E-signature will allow law enforcement submitting the complaint to reduce time and travel, while allowing the use of modern technology to file a complaint. This legislation allows us to adapt our law to current technology and allow public tax dollars to do more work.” [Van Hollen Press Release, 3/4/2010]

MADISON, Wis. — In a partisan effort to use the taxpayer-financed resources of the Wisconsin Department of Justice to derail the Wisconsin Voter Protection Act, Attorney General JB Van Hollen issued an opinion opposing the common sense bill because it allows electronic signatures from the driver’s licenses and state-issued photo identifications for use in voter registration. Just last month, Van Hollen praised passage of a bill allowing the use of electronic signatures for law enforcement personnel, citing the need to adapt to “current technology.”

“Attorney General JB Van Hollen is not only complicit in a deliberate disinformation campaign to reduce access to polls for eligible Wisconsin voters, but he is doing it with brazen hypocrisy,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “He has literally turned the Department of Justice into the taxpayer-financed legal team for the partisan leaders of the Republican Party.”

Earlier this week in advance of a press conference featuring the state’s Republican legislative leaders, Van Hollen cobbled together a list of discredited Republican talking points in a misguided attempt to add credibility to partisan objections to the plan to modernize voter registration, increase access to the poll for eligible voters and reduce voter suppression and intimidation.

Fair Elections Wisconsin, an independent pro-voter rights organization, first raised the issue in a letter to Van Hollen April 14, reminding Van Hollen that “millions of Americans will file their income taxes electronically, requesting a refund, without a physical signature. Yet they are responsible for the content of the forms.”

“April JB Van Hollen needs to have a conversation with March JB Van Hollen so they can get their stories straight,” said Ross. “Our military troops and their families, seniors, rural and city voters and students who would most benefit from the Wisconsin Voter Protection Act deserve better from Van Hollen.”

One Wisconsin Now notes this is the latest in a series of anti-voter efforts in which Van Hollen has engaged in less than two years:

* As state Co-Chair of the John McCain for President campaign, Van Hollen filed a frivolous lawsuit in 2008 that could have disenfranchised as many as 1 million eligible voters, and did so after documented contact between the Republican Party of Wisconsin and Van Hollen’s top DOJ staff.
* Van Hollen refused to investigate after an email was leaked from the Republican Party of Wisconsin in the waning weeks of the 2008 election recruiting partisans to assist in potential voter suppression efforts in the city of Milwaukee.

* Van Hollen refused to investigate a suspicious mailing by the Republican Party and the McCain campaign which could have invalidated the voter registration for countless eligible Wisconsinites, ignoring dozens of formal complaints filed by recipients of the mailing.

“Van Hollen’s shameful effort to prevent eligible voters from having full access to the ballot box is an affront to Democracy,” said Ross. “Wisconsin needs more, not less, voices standing up and exercising their right to vote.”

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.